Greetings Toronto Hounds. I used to live in your lovely city but it's been many moons and I am out of touch completely with the local deliciousness. Just found out I'll have this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to scratch the surface (only two dinners though as Friday is a work do and the reason for the trip).
The biggest favour you could do me would be to recommend a topnotch place for espresso-based drinks near the Royal York, if such a place exists. This will keep the SO happy! As would a recommendation for a good pub with lots of interesting brews on tap... but that may be pushing my luck.
Also wondering about whether restaurants in Toronto are allowed to cook burgers to order. Not so much in Vancouver so would love a good burger, which I know can be a contentious topic.
I will post a trip report, promise.
Not too worried about price but we do prefer more casual, mom and pop places so the high end stuff is not really in the mix anyway.
Realizing that reservations are going to be hard to come by with only a few days to go, and that I'd normally research a bunch more, here's what I've come up with on short notice -- feel free to trash 'em all and make other suggestions if you have the time/energy -- thanks in advance:
St Lawrence Market -- need to go back, since it's so close to the hotel and all. Grazing ideas include pasteis bacalhau and the bifana sandwich at Churrasco of St. Lawrence; Paddington's for a peameal bacon sando, mustard sampling at Kozlik's (cool!), sausages from Sausage King and myriad cheese samples (I love cheese and you can get so many in Ontario we can't get here).
Soma Chocolates, either at their original Distillery District location 32 Tank House Lane nr Mill and Cherry (Parliament/Front area) (416) 815-7662 or the newer, larger store 443 King St W nr Spadina (416) 599-7662 -- fleur de sel caramels sound up my alley
Greg's Ice Cream 750 Spadina Avenue nr Bloor (416) 962-4734 -- closed Mondays??-- sweet cream and roasted marshmallow, how I still miss you, enough to eat ice cream in TO in December :-) Glad I googled to find that they have moved away from the old location but their website could use some work. No hours listed at all...
Lai Wah Heen 108 Chestnut St nr Dundas W (416) 977-9899 -- I've heard good things about their dim sum tasting menu from a local Hound who had it years ago but haven't been able to find out anything concrete about whether it is still available. May be hopeless anyway without more notice??
Easy Restaurant 1645 Queen West at Roncesvalles 416-537-4893 plus new location 713 College West 416-535-2222 The Roncey outpost is an old favourite (huevos divorciados!) so may have to revisit
Bonjour Brioche 812 Queen Street E btwn Boulton and Degrassi, three blocks east of Broadview in Riverdale (416) 406-1250 http://bonjourbrioche.com/ for for French-style breakfasts -- cash only, no resos.
Lunch or dinner (looking for at least one place near Roncesvalles that is not too kid unfriendly):
Banh Mi Boys 392 Queen West nr Spadina (416) 363-0588 -- I've never had a banh mi outside of Vancouver (gasp!) and I've heard the kim chi fries are a must. This would be for a Sat lunch with two teens...
Khao San Road 326 Adelaide St W btwn Peter and Beverly (2.5 blks east of Spadina twd University 647-352-5773 -- despite my aversion to lining up for food, seems like a favourite. Thai is weak in Van, and I still remember Golden Thai with great fondness from my bygone Toronto days. This would be for a non-Sunday lunch or dinner. One of the fried garlic dishes, squash fritters, fresh rolls, pad gra pao with an egg, green curry on the hit list.
Barque BBQ 299 roncesvalles at Geoffrey, 4 blocks below Howard Park Ave 416-532-7700 open for lunch and dinner 7 days
Hopgood's Foodliner Nova Scotian/Maritime 325 Roncesvalles nr Grenadier (416) 533-2723 bit expensive, can be slow, takes resos, dinner only
Cafe Polonez 195 Roncesvalles btwn Wright and Fern (416) 532-8432 Wonderful Polish and Eastern European comfort food. amazing Hungarian crepe filled with goulash stew.
Black Hoof 928 Dundas St W nr Gorevale -- btwn Bathurst and Ossington (416) 551-8854 creative nose-to-tail cooking, carnitas tacos !
Woodlot 293 Palmerston Ave nr College (647) 342-6307 for casual comfort food in a warm setting. Great vegetarian menu, too -- ck if open for lunch, not clear from website
Saigon Le Lai 434 Dundas West btwn Beverly and Huron (416) 592-9155 a sentimental option, since it's the first place we really experienced home-style Vietnamese cooking and it was in regular rotation back in the day for cheap and cheerful Viet meals in a bowl. Still some of the best bun I've ever had.